In 2021, Apple introduced in-app events (IAEs), allowing marketers to promote events happening inside their apps directly on the App Store. A few months later, Google quickly followed suit by releasing promotional content (formerly known as LiveOps).
App marketers have embraced these promotion tools to increase their app’s visibility and engage current and lapsed users by showcasing new content, features, or updates to users right when they are browsing the app stores. And their impact hasn’t gone unnoticed, Google has stated that apps that ran promotional content during their closed beta gained an average of 5% more active users and 4% higher revenue than apps that did not.
In this guest post by AppTweak, we’ll highlight what in-app events and promotional content are and share practical examples of how you can use these tools to boost app visibility with in-app events.
What as iOS 15 in-app events?
In-App events are timely events that are happening within apps, such as challenges, live streams, movie premieres, and more. App marketers can promote these in-app events directly on the App Store via in-app event cards. These event cards contain basic information about the in-app event, such as the event name, a short description, and an image or video.
Apple allows the creation of in-app event cards for the following type of events:
- Competitions: Activities in which users compete against each other
- Challenges: Events that encourage users to achieve a goal before the event ends
- Live events: Real-time experiences
- Premieres: First introduction of new content or media
- Major updates: New features or content
- New seasons: New storylines
- Special events: Events that do not fit into any other category
Event cards are displayed throughout the App Store. They appear on app product pages but also directly in the search results (instead of the screenshots for apps that users have already downloaded, or alongside the app for keywords included in the in-app event card metadata) and editorial content and personalized recommendations on the Today, Games, and Apps tabs.
You can create up to 10 in-app events in App Store Connect but only a maximum of 5 events may be published on the App Store at one time. An in-app event can last up to 31 days and be promoted up to 14 days before its start date.
To create successful in-app events, marketers need to adhere to a few rules outlined by Apple:
- Avoid claims that can’t be verified such as “#1” or “ best” in the in-app event metadata.
- Respect proper use of capitalization and punctuation.
- Favor video over images to provide users with a more dynamic preview of your event.
- Ensure visual continuity across your event card and event details page by using similar colors or illustration styles.
- Make sure the in-app event metadata only includes original content or content marketers have a license to use.
- Avoid featuring events Apple doesn’t deem right for promotion with IAEs: repetitive activities like daily tasks, price promotions that don’t introduce any new content, or general promotions about an app. Apple specifies that in-app events are exclusively for the promotion of a limited-time experience.
- Target a specific audience. You can set different IAEs per country and language, which is especially handy for apps taking advantage of seasonal/cultural events like Christmas or Halloween.
What is Google Play promotional content (LiveOps)?
Following the launch of in-app events, Google released promotional content (formerly called LiveOps) out of beta. Similar to in-app events, promotional content is a powerful tool to promote in-app content and increase visibility and engagement among potential, current, and lapsed app users.
Google is a bit more elaborate than Apple in terms of the content you can promote. Google Play allows for the promotion of four types of in-app events:
- Events: in-app time-limited events like challenges
- Major updates: new content, features, or products
- Offers: discounts, rewards, or bonuses. The “offer” event type allows developers to promote discounts, deals, or free rewards, something Apple is more cautious about.
- Pre-registration announcements: updates for pre-registered users
Similar to Apple, promotional content is displayed through the store and can appear on the Games tab, Events tab, store listing page, or in search results.
Benefits of using in-app events and promotional content
Apple in-app events and Google Play promotional content are excellent ways to boost your app’s visibility and engagement among new, current, and lapsed users.
- Increase visibility among new users: In-app events and promotional content appear in various areas of the app stores, giving your app a lot more exposure to potential users. More specifically, on Apple, in-app events can also appear in the search results when users search for keywords included in the event card’s metadata. This means that app marketers can increase the pool of keywords their app ranks on by creating in-app events and optimizing the event’s metadata.
For example, the app BeautyPlus (a photo/video editing app) has created an Easter-themed in-app event promoting bunny ear effects or Easter-themed stickers users can add to their photos. Thanks to the well-optimized metadata, the app ranks alongside the in-app event on the keyword ‘easter picture’, a keyword the app didn’t rank for before the promotion of the in-app event.
- Drive user engagement and bring back lapsed users: In-app events and promotional content are also great tools for app marketers looking to increase user engagement, retention rates, and in-app purchases. Thanks to these new marketing tools they can now promote challenges, new features, and offers (Google Play only) to users when they are browsing the stores.
Many apps, and especially games have embraced in-app events to drive user engagement. For example, using AppTweak’s ASO tool we found that the game Royal Match ran 34 in-app events in the past 6 months. The in-app events promote challenges, new seasons, or major updates happening inside the game.
How to create effective in-app events & promotional content
It is no surprise that promotional content and in-app events have quickly become app marketers’ preferred tools. However, effective promotional content and in-app events require careful planning. Below, we’ve identified some key steps that will help app marketers easily outline their in-app events and promotional content strategy:
Timing in-app events and promotional content
One of the biggest challenges you can face when getting started with promotional content and in-app events regards launch time. To adequately plan your in-app events and promotional content, you need to know ahead of time what changes will happen in your app, which means that cross-team cooperation is vital. It’s also important to study your market to uncover any real-life events you can leverage. Having a calendar of planned in-app events and promotional events will help you be ready for any unplanned change and adjust your events to match users’ interests and preferences.
Personalizing in-app events and promotional content
Relatability is the key to highly engaging promotional content and in-app events. To be relatable, your content must be personalized to users’ interests, which requires an in-depth understanding of users’ preferences. To know your users, leverage user data and look into user behavior, demographics, or user interests. With this data, you can segment your audience based on their interests, age, gender, location, etc.
Once you possess a clear understanding of users’ interests and preferences, you are better equipped to create in-app events and promotional content that users will be responsive to.
Encouraging app users to engage with your in-app events or promotional content can prove to be challenging. Here are some tips to help you draw app users to your in-app event and promotional content and increase your engagement rate:
- Leverage social media: Promote your promotional content or in-app event on social media channels to reach a wider audience.
- Send notifications: Send personalized notifications to users who are most likely to be interested in the in-app event or promotional content.
- Make it easy to participate: Ensure that the process of participating in the in-app event or promotional content is straightforward.
- Analyze and optimize: Monitor the participation rates and adjust your strategy accordingly. Analyze user behavior and feedback to identify what works and what doesn’t.
Examples of in-app events & promotional content
Games have been creating timely in-app events to keep users engaged long before Apple and Google released these promotional tools. But for some apps, the use of in-app events and promotional content is a bit less straightforward. Have a look at the following examples to see how you can use in-app events and promotional content to increase visibility and engagement:
1.Leverage special events and seasonality in your in-app events to promote certain features, new content, and events. (Women’s History Month/ Spring season)
For example, on the occasion of Women’s History Month, apps have come up with varied, creative ways to increase their app’s visibility by creating in-app events that highlight women in a way that resonates with their app’s purpose. For instance, Motivation created an in-app event that promotes motivational quotes relating to womanhood and femininity, while the streaming app Twitch has chosen to highlight some of its female streamers. The makeover app SUITSME has promoted its app by showcasing the styles of historical female figures.
Seasonal events are powerful to highlight specific features, content, or offers within your app. Lounge by Zalando has created an in-app event on the App Store highlighting their new spring collection. Merge Mansion leveraged the start of the spring season to promote spring offers.
2. Use current trends like AI or ChatGPT to promote (new) features
Keep an eye out on what’s trending and create in-app events or promotional content to highlight features within your app that play on these trends. For example, Picsart has created an in-app event promoting their AI feature that turns texts into backgrounds (iOS) and another one that turns pictures into avatars (Android). Prequel is promoting a feature that modifies an outfit to make it more fashionable. With AI tools becoming more and more popular, thanks to ChatGPT’s success, apps are starting to leverage AI more and more. They should use in-app events and promotional content to promote these features in the stores. Furthermore, by adding the keyword “AI” in their metadata, Prequel and Picsart can increase their app’s visibility in the search results and entice more tech-minded app users to discover their app.
3.Leverage the power of influencer campaigns to increase awareness
Many brands rely on celebrities and influencers to create and promote new content in their app. To maximize the impact of these campaigns, apps should create in-app events promoting this new content. Calm, and Sleep Cycle for example have embraced these promotional tools to maximize the exposure of their new content.
4.Drive engagement via exciting challenges
The game Gallery is encouraging users to engage with the app by promoting new in-app content via a challenge. Disney Mirrorverse launched a challenge and encourages user engagement by offering exclusive gifts to participants.
In-app events and promotional content are exciting features available at app marketers’ disposal to boost their app’s visibility and drive engagement. App marketers must learn to identify opportunities and collaborate with developers to understand their app and create content that matches that direction. Since the success of in-app events relies on how creative and relatable app users find them, marketers should focus on quality content rather than quantity to see an uplift in visibility.
AppTweak is the leading ASO tool driven by data science. AppTweak empowers over 2,000 mobile leaders – such as Amazon, Jam City, Yelp, and Adobe – to grow their apps and games with actionable insights in a simple interface. AppTweak’s all-in-one platform offers ASO Intelligence, Ad Intelligence, and Market Intelligence.